Barcelona reportedly fell short in their attempts to sign Atletico Madrid duo Antoine Griezmann and Saul Niguez this past summer.
After seeing Neymar depart to join Paris Saint-Germain in a world-record deal, the Catalan giants needed to splash out and bring in a capable replacement.
Man Utd face major transfer concern, Barcelona eye raid for wonderkid
Barcelona delay paying additional €10m after serious injury layoff
(Image) Barcelona star in wheelchair as he flies out for surgery after injury nightmare
While they eventually landed Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund after being linked with various targets, it’s been claimed that they were looking a little closer to home at first.
As per Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu offered up to €140m for Griezmann, but their La Liga rivals rejected the offer as they were keen to keep hold of the Frenchman in an important summer for the club.
Aside from moving into their new stadium, their transfer embargo ensured that they wouldn’t be in a position to sign a replacement, and so instead Griezmann signed a new contract which raised his release clause.
Meanwhile, it’s added that Lionel Messi was pleased with the pursuit of the 25-year-old, while he also pushed for Barca to make an attempt to sign his Atleti teammate Saul Niguez too.
However, although it’s claimed that Barcelona were willing to splash out €80m on the Spaniard, it wasn’t enough as having signed a new contract, his release clause had gone up to €150m. At this point, Bartomeu switched his focus to Griezmann, but he faced a similar headache with his clause and so ultimately Barca failed in their pursuit of both players, according to the report.
It remains to be seen whether or not they revisit their interest next year with Atleti’s transfer ban being lifted, but judging from the fees being touted and having now signed Dembele, it’s unclear if Barca will have the resources to make such moves a reality.